Most neurons have elaborate dendrites as well as an axon emanating from the cell body that form synaptic connections with one or many target cells, which may be located a considerable distance from the cell body. Such complex and impressive morphologies allow some types of neurons to integrate inputs from one to many thousands of pre-synaptic partners and to rapidly propagate electrical signals, often over long distances, to post-synaptic target cells. Much slower, non-electrical signals also propagate from dendrites and distal axons to neuronal nuclei that influence survival, growth, and plasticity. The distances between distal dendrites and/or distal axons and cell bodies of neurons can be hundreds of microns to more than one meter. This long-range biochemical signal propagation from distal dendrites and distal axons to neuronal nuclei is entirely unique to neurons. This review is focused on excitatory neurotransmitter signaling from dendritic synapses to neuronal nuclei as well as on retrograde growth factor signaling from distal axons to neuronal nuclei.
- Signal transduction
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